By Thomas Uzah
The Cable Network News (CNN) is still existing in the past in today’s globalized satellite and digital Television world. Some 20 years back, CNN monopolized the awful digital news dissemination and it was the cynosure of every eye anywhere in the world, its signals perched.
An unfazed and comfortable, CNN fed the world with fake news, recycling same news items hourly up to 24 hours or beyond, but still flagging its screens, suspiciously as “CNN Live” broadcast of the news. Its gingered eagerness in listeners and viewers, who profusely eulogized the medium of reeling out news events on-the-spot.
Then, the world was at its dawn of digital broadcasting technology and CNN capitalized on it to spread its corporate falsehood to the world excited with odd news. But the world has transcended such insularity in digital broadcasting and the media generally.
There are too many competitors in the digital broadcasting industry today. I can conveniently guess; CNN now pleads to catch up the pace in the digital broadcasting industry and reportage globally.
In America, its place of domiciliary, I am told President Donald Trump hates CNN with a passion, including their reporters or correspondents covering the White House. Most times, Mr. President goes naught in near fisticuffs with its reporters for their mastery of churning out fake news.
President Trump is fatally a blunt person who does not conceal his feelings on anything he opposes. It doesn’t mean, I cherish the personage in Trump. He has his foibles as a leader. But at least, lets concede his brutal frankness on CNN as commercialized vendors of global fake news. They are like Nigeria’s Glo, one of the telecoms which has an attractive product advertising slogan, “Pay As You Go!” It’s fantastic, but that’s okay!
CNN’s dubious reportage and barefaced abuse of professional ethics in the past has caused tragic outcomes to the world. It has also diminished public believability in its news contents. Whilst there is a plethora of examples, let me dwell on the invasion of Iraq by American and allied forces in 2003, which CNN provided resourcefully concocted news on fictious existence of weapons of mass destruction that almost pushed the world into an unexpected third World War.
A report on CNN’s website dated September 4, 2002, showcased a lethal deceit of the then American President George W. Bush that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein secretly stockpiled chemical and biological weapons, he plans to use in the event the U.S unleashes a surprise military attack on the country.
Quoting various sources, the CNN campaigned that “Iraq has tons of chemical weapons.” The presumptive report triggered U.S pre-emptive military strike on Iraq in March 2003 with allied forces. The intent was to destroy the concealed weapons of Mass Destruction by Iraqi’s Saddam Hussein to terminate his brutal and dictatorial leadership.
Nicely sad, after America’s destruction of Iraq and ruination of the obnoxious regime of Saddam Hussein, CNN’s claims turned out to be a ruse, much after the deed had been regretfully committed. It was the height of media treachery and abuse of professional public obligation as exhibited by CNN
The America’s Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) would later publish an official report which read in part; “The Bush administration concedes its pre-war arguments about extensive stockpiles of chemical, biological, and even nuclear weaponry in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq appear to have been mistaken. In January 2004, David Kay, the former top U.S. weapons inspector, tells Congress: ‘We were almost wrong.”
History has a way of repeating itself. The CNN has officially shifted the battleground to Nigeria’s Lekki Toll Gate incident. In my estimation, the foreign cable network has replaced a weakened Amnesty International’s (AI) on promotion of odious lies and fabricated stories on Nigeria.
Therefore, on November 17, 2020, the CNN screamed that “…Soldiers killed youths in Lekki…, ” in reference to the #EndSARS alleged shooting of defenceless protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. Had CNN any trace of reputation or credibility, one would have been tempted to endorse what they have branded as “investigative report.”
CNN correspondents were nowhere near the scene of the incident at Lekki on October 20, 2020. Fortunately, BBC’s Lagos correspondent Damilola Banjo and her editor witnessed the encounter of the #EndSARS protester with soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate live. And a previous verdict delivered by the BBC reporters have plainly contradicted and obliterated whatever lies, CNN, the obviously contracted news merchants have repackaged and peddled to the world.
BBC’s Lagos correspondent, Banjo, who covered the protests at that point, narrated the contentious aspect of the encounter between the protesters and soldiers in these words; “The sight of the Army got the protesters angry and agitated…I was there with my editor and we saw the Army open fire; of course, not on the protesters, but in the air.”
So, the rejigged CNN’s report on the Lekki Toll Gate shootings is weakened by its own facts. It is infused with a heavy dosage of local partisan contents, from same narrators who previously screamed, but could not advance any modicum of evidence. CNN claimed soldiers massacred people at Lekki, but the report, only identified one Victor Sunday Ibanga, 24, Wisdom Okon, 18, and probably, a third very vague person, in spite of the enormous energy invested in it, with a deluge of correspondents.
At different points in CNN’s narrations, it is difficult to ascertain whether the allegations of shooting and killings at Lekki were done by soldiers or the police. And despite the evident violence, killings, destructions and reports of rape of women by the protesters, CNN’s imaginations betrayed its evil motive;
“There were peaceful marches, candlelight vigils, multi-faith prayer sessions and DJ performances that attracted backing and solidarity from celebrities, the Nigerian diaspora and supporters around the world. The movement quickly widened beyond police brutality to other grievances — capturing the frustrations of a young population demanding an end to bad governance in the oil-rich country.”
And I sensed the desperation of CNN and their paymasters to implicate the Army at all cost. The cable network, claimed an eyewitness, named Sarah, whose second name they withheld, informed CNN that “They pointed their guns at us and they started shooting…They were shooting in the air, they were shooting at us, they were shooting everywhere.” Who else did the random shootings kill? Which account of the narrations is now authentic and believable?
CNN also propagated that “In several of the videos, reviewed and verified by CNN, some of the protesters can be seen carrying bodies… It is not known whether these were dead or injured protesters.” So, the dead bodied conveyed by the protesters too cannot be located in any mortuary or the protesters dumped them in the Lagoon?
Is that what CNN wants the whole world to believe? I am wondering what motivations could push a foreign news medium to deliberately contradict itself in such barbaric manner. CNN has reduced itself into an odious errand boy for whose interest in Nigeria?
Nigerians should patiently wait for truth on this too! CNN has sold its integrity and conscience decades back. It is now incontrovertible that the true motive of this medium is to trigger the kind of war its false report generated in Iraq and has continued to inflict pains on Iraqis till date. I am convinced, it is about western influence on Nigeria through foreign agents of destabilization. It is CNN’s revival of its historic missteps in Iraq, which is re-dramatized in Nigeria’s Lekki Toll Gate shootings.
Nigerians must be wise! CNN is suspiciously running destructive errands with the intention of assisting those who intends to destroy Nigeria by spinning falsehood to discredit the Military and the Federal Government. The plot is to cause large scale crises to destabilize the country. By my reckoning, CNN’s likely clients to benefit from the planned mess of Nigeria would probably be, the arms sellers, crisis-entrepreneurs and terrorists sponsors. But we shall defeat them.
Uzah PhD is head of mass communication department, Kwararafa University Wukari.